A cute puppy with a future as a healthy and sound dog. Alas, not! When Kide, Jolly Agile flying Flow, was almost one year old she had her first epileptic seizure although (and luckily) she did not have them often enough to need medication. Fortunately, she has not had any for years. Five years ago when she was born there were no open databases so a breeder without contacts who wasn’t aware of rumoured cases, just did not know which dogs might be at risk of epilepsy. Almost the same time that I heard about the seizure, I was told about the Czech database. How many relatives of my dog did I find! Knowing that, no wonder that we “won” in the lottery one ugly epilepsy case. A great sorrow and tragedy for the family but also to all the families with the siblings who were all doomed. The databases help us a bit but not too much, at least as long as there are people wanting to hide this shameful disease.
I was curious and gathered the information from the earlier- mentioned Czech one (the biggest one) and two other ones (the UK and Swedish Vall reg) containing about 100 BCs each. Combining all these three databases showed 388 epileptic border collies (or just fitting) with known pedigrees. The biggest monster, in the pedigrees, is the line breeding. Most of the epileptic dogs had one dog twice or three times in their pedigree, some of them had several grandparents repeated in their pedigree. I guess people can be just so greedy. When we produce an outstanding dog, a real show winner or a magnificent working dog, we want to have a copy of this magnificent dog and start line breeding. Even though we are told all the time about the hazards that lie within inbreeding - our dog is so special that we can take the risks involved!
Hopefully, one day we will have a gene test for epilepsy! This still should not encourage us to continue inbreeding. There are so many other gene failures to be produced just because of the poor gene combinations. Variety is needed in the gene pools! I cannot help thinking if we would not have any dogs with a bad reputation being the epilepsy carriers if they have not been used all over again. At least the number of epileptic dogs would be essentially smaller.
I do not see any point in publishing the list of the most common sires or dams found behind the epileptic dogs. Since the list is a very artificial list, the results could be exactly the other way round if all the dogs were included. Now, it would be a list of the dogs whose owners or breeders have been open about the matter. Making a list with this scarce information would be unfair and is untrue, too. Hoping for a bright future for all the puppies in the future litters!